I wonder how many fanciers who purchase and read The Racing Pigeon every week have stopped to wonder about its origins.
1898 – Wednesday April 20th the very first issue No 1 Vol 1 appeared on sale for the price of One old Penny.
First Editor – A H Osman
The very first issue appeared on Wednesday 20th April 1898. The founding editor was A H Osman later to become lieutenant Colonel Osman, one of the doyens of our sport.
It was the enthusiasm for pigeons and pigeon racing that led him to abandon his career as a lawyers Clerk and embark on the very risky business of founding and editing a journal devoted entirely to the sport of pigeon racing, The Racing Pigeon.
The Racing Pigeon was by no means the first in its field, but it proved the most successful. Prior to founding The RP, A H Osman wrote notes for the Fanciers Gazette, using the now world famous pen name of Squills. ?At the start of the First World War, A H Osman was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, in charge of the pigeon service.
This came about because of his knowledge of pigeons and pigeon fanciers. The Racing Pigeon played a great part as a means of obtaining volunteers and birds. A H Osmanaccepted the rank as honorary and without pay and was appointed to organise and command the first Carrier Pigeon Service in the British Army. From the day Lt Col A H Osman accepted the commission until the completion of the war he worked on those terms. Indeed one of his pigeons, ‘little hope’ made 153 trips in three years of war service in all types of weather without a mistake.
With the end of the war in 1918, normality began to return and Lt Col A H Osman was able to again concentrate of The RP and his pigeons.
In 1920 he organised a pigeon show in aid of the London Hospital, as a result of which there was a reunion of members of the Army Carrier Pigeon Services. This was held at the Hotel Russell, in Russell Square, just a short walk from Doughty Street, the headquarters of The Racing Pigeon. As a result of that reunion the show became known as ‘The Old Comrades’ , the first being held in 1928, and still continues today at Doncaster Racecourse.
It is also worth remembering that A H Osman was the first Secretary of the National Flying Club, and a founder of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.